The Hawaiian island of Kauai is the proper place for energetic vacationers seeking to escape to a tropical paradise. Listed here are a number of the finest issues to do in Kauai throughout your go to!
Not as touristy as Oahu and far smaller than The Massive Island — Kauai is definitely one of many oldest islands within the Hawaiian chain.
The plush moist landscapes and distinctive wildlife on Kauai has earned it the nickname “The Backyard Isle”.
You possibly can discover dense jungles with uncommon orchids and different flowers. Trek alongside steep cliffs for breathtaking views. Then sip Mai-tais and snack on one of the best poke bowl you’ve ever had whereas watching monk seals sunbathing!
In the event you’re planning to go to Hawaii quickly, I wished to advocate a couple of enjoyable and weird issues to do on Kauai, it doesn’t matter what time of yr you’re there.
Kauai Hawaii Highlights Map
How To Use This Map
Above you’ll discover a map of Kauai’s highlights. Click on on the highest left of the map to search out separate layers marking the route and factors of curiosity. You possibly can conceal and present totally different layers, or click on icons on the map to see the names of locations I point out on this journey information. “Star” the map to reserve it to your individual Google Maps, or open the map in a brand new window for a bigger model. Get pleasure from!
Finest Issues To Do On Kauai
1. Kayak The Wailua River
Kauai’s Wailua River weaves 20 miles via the luxurious Wailua River Valley. Paddle your method into the middle of the island, passing by waterfalls and ruins of previous Hawaiian temples, referred to as heiau, alongside the best way.
Many tour operators run via right here, however you may as well hire a kayak, SUP, or outrigger canoe out of your resort or Airbnb host for a self-guided tour, which is what I did.
In the event you aren’t up for a visit on the river itself, you may as well get a terrific view overlooking a dramatic bend within the river from the Wailua River Overlook.
2. Waimea Canyon (Hawaii’s Grand Canyon)
Drive to Kauai’s west aspect for some nice climbing and photograph alternatives via stunning Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. This distinctive crimson and inexperienced volcanic formation is 10 miles lengthy, 1 mile large, and three,500 ft deep.
Excessive elevations imply the temperature modifications noticeably from the underside as you head to the highest. So carry a rain jacket or windbreaker. Put on climbing boots with a number of traction to deal with the rocky, muddy terrain.
Even in case you aren’t a hiker, driving alongside the canyon partitions and stopping at lookout spots is tremendous enjoyable. Remember that parking at in style areas can refill quick, so attempt to arrive early, earlier than 9 AM.
3. Discover The Nāpali Coast
A should in your Kauai journey itinerary is to see the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, with some of the recognizable coastlines on the planet. Outlined by spectacular inexperienced mountains that rise dramatically from the ocean.
There are a couple of methods to take pleasure in this shoreline: by land, sea, or air.
The Kalalau Path
Superior hikers with their very own gear can try an 11 mile climbing journey alongside the well-known Kalalau Path, which entails some in a single day tenting. The trek can get intense and requires a particular allow at the very least a day prematurely via the Hawaiian Park’s web site.
Sail The Shoreline
Get an up shut view of the Nāpali coast on a crusing catamaran boat. Dolphins typically play alongside the catamaran, and most boats supply snorkeling too. Preserve a watch out for humpback whales breaching throughout peak whale watching season, December via April. A good way to see the shoreline!
Napali Helicopter Tour
Lastly, though dear, a Kauai helicopter tour offers you a 360 fowl’s-eye view of the luxurious greenery and cascading waterfalls of Na Pali. For the adventurous, they even supply open-door flights! That is what we did — it was wonderful.
4. Cool Off With Hawaiian Shave Ice
No go to to Kauai is full with out a cease on the well-known Kalalea Juice Hale for some basic Hawaiian Shave Ice. You can too choose up all types of contemporary natural juices, or a tasty Acai Bowl to get recharged for the remainder of your day.
Hale (pronounced HA-leh,) means home, and this shiny orange constructing sits proper beneath Kalalea Mountain (aka King Kong Mountain). Shave ice is a staple dessert in Hawaii, with little shacks promoting the tasty deal with in each city. To not be confused with a snow-cone, which is crushed ice (slightly than shaved).
5. Mountaineering In Kokee State Park
After visiting Waimea Canyon, preserve driving North and also you’ll find yourself in Kokee State Park. That is principally the bottom of the Na Pali, the place you’ll be able to look down on the coast from excessive within the mountains.
Kokee has a bunch of cool climbing trails and lookout factors to discover. Some notable ones embrace the favored Kalalau Valley Lookout, Kalepa Ridge Path, Puu O Kila Lookout, plus there are campsites within the park too.
As a result of components of the park sit above 4000 ft, it’s a lot cooler than different components of the island, and will get numerous rain too. So ensure that to carry a rain jacket!
6. Meditate At Kauai’s Hindu Temple
Between the jagged peaks, pristine seashores, and ample wildlife, a go to to Kauai feels a bit like a non secular expertise in and of itself. Which makes the Kauai Hindu Temple an ideal addition to this tropical paradise.
The hand sculpted, white granite Iraivan temple overlooks the banks of the Wailua River earlier than a backdrop of the Kapa Mountains. About 35-40 minutes from Kukui‘ula, individuals from all walks of life come to admire the peaceable surroundings and spectacular structure.
The temple encompasses a uncommon 700-pound quartz crystal and spectacular granite sculpture of the six-faced deity, Lord Shanmuga, standing in entrance of an enormous banyan tree. The monastery asks that friends gown modestly by sporting free becoming apparel and protecting legs and arms.
7. Swim At Tunnels Seaside
In all probability my favourite seaside on Kauai, Tunnels Seaside (Makua in Hawaiian) on the North Shore is a superb place to go snorkeling or scuba diving. It has a really giant and shallow reef full of colourful fish.
Nevertheless the true spotlight at Tunnels is the very dramatic jagged inexperienced mountains within the background. In order for you that good Hawaiian postcard photograph for Instagram, that is the place to get it!
The parking sucks although, and spots refill shortly, so get there early otherwise you’ll need to park half-a-mile away. Waves get large and tough right here within the winter, so the snorkeling will get harmful (nevertheless it’s nice if you wish to watch professional surfers).
8. Go to Well-known Jurassic Park Falls
Film followers will acknowledge Kauai from the long-lasting scene of Jurassic Park, when the helicopter lands on the base of a cascading waterfall. You possibly can recreate the cinematic expertise by taking a chopper tour to Manawaiopuna Falls.
Some particular helicopter excursions will even land right here and allow you to stroll round, however as a result of it’s positioned in a really distant a part of Kauai’s Hanapēpē Valley, the one method to see this dramatic waterfall is by way of helicopter.
9. Eat A Hawaiian Poke Bowl
Poke is my favourite Hawaiian meals, and I even discovered make contemporary ahi-tuna poke with an expert chef as soon as. So at any time when I go to Hawaii, I can’t resist an opportunity to eat loads of this diced uncooked fish Hawaiian delicacies.
I often go for the standard fashion made with sashimi grade ahi tuna, candy onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped macadamia nuts, and scallions. It’s sooooo good! You will discover it at many restuarants and a few devoted meals vehicles on Kauai.
I recommend heading to a number of the native markets, like in The Ishihara Market in Waimea, which some think about one of the best poke joint on the island. Strive a mixture of fish flavored with shoyu, citrus, and spicy mayo. You possibly can even discover high quality poke on the island’s grocery shops too.
10. Browsing At Hanalei Bay
Stunning mountains overlook coconut palms and a sparking surf at Hanalei Bay. This laid again, surfer city is thought for its artwork galleries, seashores, nice meals, and dwell music venues.
The crescent formed seaside impressed the 1960’s people tune Puff the Magic Dragon, primarily based on the legendary sleeping dragon within the mountains that protects the bay. In the event you plan to hit the waves, the surf can get intense, so ensure that to examine advisories.
Cool off on a sizzling day on the Aloha Juice Bar Hanalei with a Reefer Smoothie product of blended strawberry, mango, banana, and guava. At evening, head over to Tahiti Nui to dine on Tahitian delicacies, hearken to nightly dwell music, and sip mai tais.
Whereas within the space, additionally try Hanalei Valley Lookout in Princeville to admire the inexperienced taro fields, some of the photographed areas on the island.
11. Kīlauea Level Lighthouse
Only a 20 minute drive from Hanalei Bay sits Kilauea, a tiny historic city on the island’s northeastern shore. Escape from the crowds for snorkeling, swimming, and windsurfing at unique seashores like Kauapea (Secret’s Seaside), Anini Seaside, or Ka‘aka‘aniu (Larsen’s Seaside) in Kīlauea.
The city grew up round a sugar plantation from the late 1800s and attracted migrant staff from nations from Portugal to Japan. Expertise the cultural heritage on the Kong Lung Historic Market Middle which hosts uniquely native artwork exhibitions, eating places, and craft distributors.
You’ll additionally spot the 52-foot Daniel Ok. Inouye Kīlauea Level Lighthouse. Inbuilt 1913, the lighthouse has turn into part of the Kīlauea Level Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, a haven for the island’s many uncommon fowl species.
12. Watch A Hula Dance Efficiency
For 1000’s of years, hula dance has been part of Hawaiian tradition. The dance tells the historical past of Hawaiian individuals via motion, usually with gradual, sentimental music or energetic beats.
Rumor has it that the dance might originate from Kauai, and you’ll catch an genuine present throughout a go to. Dancers carry out at most of the resorts. However for a really genuine expertise, go to Keahualaka Heiau, an space devoted to Laka, the goddess of hula, simply across the nook from the Kalalau trailhead.
One other in style spot to look at a hula efficiency is the Grand Hyatt Resort Kauai in case you occur to be staying there.
13. Sunbathe At Poipu Seaside
Listed because the Journey Channel’s Prime 10 Seashores In The World, Poipu Seaside sits on the island’s south aspect. Nicknamed “the sunny aspect of paradise”, this can be a haven for aquatic wildlife like seals, whales, dolphins, and big sea turtles.
On an island with largely rocky seashores, Poipu Seaside welcomes sunbathers with its sandy shores. Poipu really consists of two seashores, break up within the center by a slender sand bar. To the left: calm, shallow waters supply a spot ideally suited for households with youngsters. Small swells to the fitting aspect invite physique boarders to hit the waves.
The west going through seashores give good views of the sundown over the water. Hire a surfboard or snorkel for the day. You would possibly even catch one of many seaside natives: a Hawaiian monk seal.
13. Cliff Leaping At Shipwreck’s Seaside
Not removed from Poipu, ensure that to cease by Shipwreck’s Seaside positioned subsequent to The Grand Hyatt Kauai. This rocky seaside earned its identify after an previous picket ship sank off the coast a few years in the past. It’s additionally entry the beginning of the Mahaulepu Heritage Path, a climbing route that explores the shoreline.
The seaside itself is stuffed with native surfers, which may be enjoyable to look at in case you don’t surf. There’s additionally a big 40 foot cliff close by that’s used for cliff leaping. Nevertheless it’s not a terrific spot for newbies, because the waves can get tough and the swim again to shore after leaping is fairly lengthy. Be very cautious!
14. Go to Queen’s Tub
On Kauai’s north shore in Princeville sits the Queen’s Tub, a rocky tide pool surrounded by black lava rock. The hereditary rulers of Hawaii, referred to as ali’i, would come to those sacred waters to wash.
In the event you plan to go to, be very cautious: the turbulent tide swimming pools and powerful waves make this a harmful place for swimming. Rouge waves have been recognized to knock individuals off the rocks too — there’s an indication itemizing all of the drownings. Deliver correct footwear and preserve your guard up.
15. Pattern The Meals Vans
The meals truck scene is a should throughout a go to to Kauai to benefit from the native delicacies, at a cut price. You possibly can attempt them all around the island, however the charming city of Kapaa stands out as one one of the best spots to feast on meals vehicles.
Like Nixtamal Kauai, a Kapaa favourite serving Mexican road meals and seafood. Identified for his or her tamales served with spicy habanero salsa, the rooster tamale incorporates shredded machaca marinated rooster with roasted inexperienced chile.
Or attempt the refreshing Shave Ice Tege Tege serving hand cranked shaved ice combined with condensed milk and native mango, dragon fruit, and keenness fruit.
16. Hanapepe’s Historic Artwork Stroll
Take a break from the sunshine with an inventive night in Hanapepe. On Friday nights, the historic city hosts an artwork evening that includes distributors, dwell music, and, after all, extra meals!
Style certainly one of OnoPop’s Ulu (breadfruit) popsicles, a non-dairy vanilla flavored ice deal with. For one thing heartier, head to Midnight Bear Breads Bakery and Cafe to your selection of home made pizzas, breads, and pastries, just like the candy, nutty macadamia nut cinnamon swirl roll.
For one more meals truck, head to Porky’s Kauai, voted probably the greatest native eating places. Conserving it easy, the truck serves simply Three dishes: tangy, candy Kalua pork pineapple sausage, the meat frank and pulled pork bun, and Hawaiian fashion pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich.
17. Bike The Koloa Heritage Path
Admire lava cliffs courting again 5 million years alongside the Kola Heritage Path. Positioned within the historic city of Koloa, the pathway takes you previous 14 totally different stops and monuments together with sugar and pineapple plantations courting again to the mid 1800s.
There’s additionally the Spouting Horn blowhole—or puhi, because the locals name it. Extra stops embrace Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone, and Harpa Highway, an emergency route courting again to World Battle II.
For some Hawai’in fusion meals, cease by Kiawe Roots, a household owned restaurant serving dishes like Hawaiian jerk pork ribs with spiced Kauai honey barbecue sauce.
18. Go to Kauai’s Moir Gardens
Additionally one of many stops on Kola Heritage Path, ensure that to swing by Moir Gardens positioned on the grounds of the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation. Open every day with free entry.
These wealthy gardens are stuffed with unique succulents, cacti, bromeliads, orchids, and water lilies which develop on the 35-acre historic property. Whereas a lot of Kauai will get battered with rain every year, Poipu is a dry a part of the island. So many of the vegetation right here thrive in dry situations.
19. Verify Out Alekoko Fishpond
The Hawaiian Islands have handed on legends of ghostly tales for generations. So that you don’t need to miss your likelihood to see a number of the native mythological landmarks, like Alekoko Fishpond.
In keeping with legend, mischievous little individuals referred to as the Menehune inhabit the island. These legendary creatures allegedly construct the fishpond in a single evening by lining up over 25 miles and passing lava stones hand handy!
True or not, this man-made pond has been used for fishing for 1,000 years, and it’s a cool instance of historical Hawaiian aquaculture. At this time, you’ll be able to see the Fishpond from a viewing platform close to the street to Huleia Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, house to many endangered fowl species.
20. See The “Wettest Spot On Earth”
Typically referred to as the wettest spot on earth, Mount Waialeale averages 450 inches of rainfall yearly. In 1982, 666 inches of rain had been recorded on the height, establishing an official document, which explains why the locals name it Wai’ale’ale, which means “overflowing water”.
Clouds usually enshroud the 5,000 foot mountain, and lots of legends encompass this mystical peak. Though it appears unattainable to climb, stone ruins on the 5,000 foot excessive summit, Kawaikini Peak, recommend that historical inhabitants would climb to the highest to provide choices.
Vacationers can view the dormant defend volcano by helicopter or discover the 2 trails on the jap aspect of Waialeale.
21. Wailua Falls
Additional up the Wailua River talked about earlier is a big waterfall referred to as Wailua Falls. That is in all probability the most well-liked waterfall on Kauai, resulting from its easy accessibility proper subsequent to a street. No climbing required!
This stunning 80 foot tall double waterfall is positioned in Japanese Kauai behind the Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve in Hanamā‘ulu. Legends inform of Hawaiian royalty who used to check their endurance by leaping from the highest of the falls into the shallow pool under, and a few didn’t survive.
There’s an unofficial (unlawful) path that winds right down to the bottom of the falls from the street, nonetheless this can be very slippery and steep. Try it at your individual danger.
22. Beachfront Tenting At Polihale Park
Hawaii attracts vacationers from all around the world seeking to reconnect with the pure great thing about this tropical paradise. Those that love the outside can’t go on a visit to Polihale State Park.
Locals spend weekends right here, usually using ATVs alongside the two mile stretch of seaside. Arrange your tent alongside the seaside to take pleasure in saffron and crimson sunsets earlier than sleeping beneath the celebrities. Added bonus: alcohol and campfires are permitted.
The sturdy present means swimmers ought to take warning. However the southwestern aspect has a cove, ideally suited for swimming and snorkeling. The 5-mile street getting right here is tough, and solely appropriate for 4X4 automobiles.
23. Kauapea Seaside (AKA Secret Seaside)
Secrets and techniques is a large seaside on the North Shore of Kauai close to the city of Kilauea. The seaside is positioned on the backside of steep cliffs, and isn’t the simplest place to entry. There’s a well-used path, nevertheless it’s usually muddy and tough to get down.
However the hike down is price it, as a result of even when there’s 100 individuals on the seaside, it’s so large that you could find a quiet place all to your self in case you simply preserve strolling. In the event you stroll for lengthy sufficient, you’ll finally stumble onto a cliff-side waterfall and a “clothes non-obligatory” space of the seaside.
24. Grand Hyatt Resort Swimming pools
Even in case you don’t keep in a single day at Kauai’s stunning Grand Hyatt Resort, it’s nonetheless potential to go to their wonderful tropical swimming pools, lazy river, and personal seaside with a particular Day Go. A beautiful place to loosen up within the solar.
The realm behind the resort is an oasis of flower gardens, freshwater swimming pools, waterfalls, shaded cabanas, a salt water lagoon, a number of jacuzzis, watersides, and even a lazy river! You possibly can simply waste hours right here, ordering fancy drinks and taking dips within the swimming pools.
25. Wai’oli Hui’ia Church
Waioli Church in Hanalei stands out from many different church buildings I’ve visited all over the world. Based by protestant missionaries in 1912, the inexperienced constructing blends in completely with the tropical Kauai mountains within the background.
It’s a well-liked cease for pictures in case you’re driving across the island. Be happy to go inside and take a look round if it’s open.
26. Kauai’s Glass Seaside & Cemetery
This distinctive seaside is positioned within the city of Eleele, in an industrial a part of the island. As an alternative of normal sand, this seaside is roofed in small items of multicolored sea glass! Sea lions additionally like to hang around right here, so it’s possible you’ll catch a glimpse of them too.
The seaside isn’t large, and it’s not a pleasant place for sunbathing (large ugly oil tanks behind it), however in case you’re already within the space, it may be an fascinating cease for a photograph. Be sure to take a look at the close by cemetery too, with previous crimson headstones carved in Japanese writing.
27. Go to Mark Zuckerberg’s Seaside
Sick of Fb invading your privateness and promoting your private knowledge? Why not give Zuck a style of his personal drugs, and invade HIS privateness by visiting the general public seaside beneath his 700-acre property on Kauai!
Pila’a Seaside could be very troublesome to get to, as a result of it’s surrounded by Zuckerberg’s personal land, nonetheless in case you’re up for a problem, it’s potential. There’s a hidden entry street that results in a cliff aspect, which in case you climb down, you’ll be able to then stroll alongside a rocky shoreline for about 1200 ft to achieve the seaside.
Sorry Zuck. It’s completely authorized! Perhaps you must have learn the island’s full phrases of service earlier than you got land on Kauai… all seashores are public.
28. Maliuhi Tree Tunnel
On the south shore of Kauai there’s a protracted street lined with inexperienced eucalyptus timber. It’s referred to as the Maliuhi Tree Tunnel, and it’s fairly cool to drive via. The timber cowl a couple of mile of freeway 520 as you drive to Poʻipū.
The tree tunnel was planted again in 1911 as a present to the group from Walter McBryde, a wealthy and highly effective pinapple baron. At one level it was Three instances longer than it’s now.
29. Wild Rooster Recognizing
After we first obtained to Kauai, I used to be struck with the island’s wild rooster inhabitants. There are literally thousands of feral chickens roaming round EVERYWHERE. You’ll discover them in entrance yards, crossing roads, parking tons, and so forth.
As is the case for a lot of islands, as soon as a non-native species will get introduced over, typically it may result in unintended penalties. Different Hawaiian islands have exploding populations of untamed pigs and cattle — Kauai has chickens.
Between the unique Polynesians, the voyages of Captain Cook dinner, and Filipinos engaged on sugar cane plantations who saved birds for cockfighting, the island’s rooster inhabitants grew. A sequence of hurricanes within the 80’s set all of them free!
30. Maha’ulepu Heritage Path
The scenic cliff-side hike of Maha’ulepu Heritage Path begins from Shipwreck Seaside and winds its method alongside the undeveloped coast of the South Shore. The path shouldn’t be too troublesome, however very uncovered to the weather.
Whereas climbing this rugged a part of Kauai, you’ll encounter sand dunes, caves, historical ruins, and finally you’ll attain Mahaulepu Seaside, a distant stretch of sand that doesn’t see many guests. Whereas it’s not a terrific seaside for swimming, Humpback whales and sea turtles can usually be noticed round right here.
Transportation Round Kauai
One of the best website to e-book your automotive is with Uncover Automobiles. They search each native and worldwide automotive rental corporations that can assist you discover the very best value. That is the simplest method to hire a automotive and drive on Kauai.
Renting a automotive provides one of the best flexibility to discover distant spots on the island. Kauai has two main highways, Kaumualii and Kuhio. It may well take an hour to get to the opposite aspect of the island.
The Kauai public bus system runs from Kekaha to Hanalei. A journey prices $2 per journey. You can too buy a sooner or later go ($4) or month-to-month go ($45). Though cheap, the bus system is extra for locals going to work, and so they don’t cease at many vacationer points of interest.
Though you will discover taxis close to the Lihue Airport, you received’t probably see many all through the island. That stated, the island has its native taxi service, though troublesome to hail. LYFT and Uber additionally run on the island. You can too e-book shuttles or personal excursions. Fares begin at $Three for the primary tenth mile then turns into $0.30 cents for each tenth mile thereafter.
The place To Keep On Kauai
Lodging on Kauai is costly. There’s simply no method round it. Kauai is a small island, so accommodations can cost a premium. Listed here are options for good locations to remain throughout your journey to Kauai Hawaii…
Helpful Kauai Journey Suggestions & Recommendation
- Deliver a pair of climbing boots that you simply don’t thoughts getting soiled for a number of the many rocky, muddy trails on the island.
- Referred to as the rainiest island in Hawaii, Kauai’s tropical local weather means daytime showers. The climate is at all times altering from sunshine to rain, so pack an umbrella and windbreaker or gentle rain jacket.
- Automotive leases are in excessive demand, notably throughout peak vacationer seasons within the winter and summer season, so ensure that to order your rental prematurely.
- Kauai locals are fairly territorial, and don’t take kindly to vacationers displaying up on their personal property or roads, so pay specific consideration to indicators and keep off different individuals’s land.
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READ MORE HAWAII TRAVEL TIPS
I hope you loved my information on what to do in Kauai! Hopefully you discovered it helpful. Listed here are a couple of extra wanderlust-inducing articles that I like to recommend you learn subsequent:
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